After years of use, I’ve perfected the application method of Crest Whitestrips. Though I’ve had enough orthodontia in my mouth to form a sizable paperweight, it is the whiteness of my teeth that has earned me the most compliments.

If you ignore Crest’s instructions and follow mine instead, you will maximize every penny you throw at those heavenly boxes of effectiveness and irritate your sister who uses them just as much but doesn’t see the same results (love you, Sister!):

Stop and read!

First, a VERY IMPORTANT NOTE!!!! Do NOT brush your teeth with toothpaste before applying the strips. (Crest advises against this, too, on their box.) Many toothpastes contain residual chemicals designed to coat your teeth and protect them from anything – including the magical Whitestrip goo! We like the goo. We want the goo to penetrate our teeth, not slide off onto our tongue.

Now, the steps.

  1. Floss. Trust me. No matter how menacing/dusty that little floss box looks, bust it open and get to work. We are whitening teeth, not food particles.
  2. Brush your teeth. NOT with toothpaste. See above. Brush with water. Just do it!
  3. Now, get the surfaces of your teeth as dry as possible. How? Allow me to explain. Open your mouth and lift your upper lip while lowering your bottom lip away from your teeth. Breathe in and out rapidly. Look in the mirror. If your reflection isn’t hideous, you’re not doing it right.
  4. Tear open one packet (upper/lower strips come in one packet). Remove the lower strip (smaller one) first by peeling it away from the plastic sheet. Try your best to avoid touching the gooey side with your fingers. Just do your best.
  5. Using your pinkies, pull your lower lip away from your bottom teeth. We are still keeping the teeth as dry as possible. Now, using your longest nail, push the middle of the strip in between your two center-most lower teeth (goo side goes against teeth…). Good!
  6. Now, keeping your nail pressed between your teeth, use another finger to push the strip against the tooth surfaces on either side of your nail. Then, use your second-longest fingernail to press the strip in between the next two teeth (KEEPING your longest nail between your center-most teeth – this will ensure you don’t pull the strip out and away from the crevice of your teeth as you continue to apply the strip).
  7. Repeat this action until all of your lower teeth are covered by the strip.
  8. Press the strip over the tops of your lower teeth and push it against the backsides, securing it with a tongue-sweep. Run your tongue along the outside and inside of your lower row of teeth to make sure the strip is secure before moving on.
  9. Repeat this entire painstaking process for your top row of teeth.  Nail in center of strip – press between two upper front teeth.  Smooth and wedge, smooth and wedge.  Essentially, you want it to look like you sucked the strips into the gaps between your teeth, if there are any.
  10. Keep the strips on your teeth for at least an hour. Crest tells you to leave them on for half an hour. You may feel inclined to yell at me in the comments for abusing the strips, but read step 12, first.
  11. Remove the strips by peeling them away from teeth. You will have slimy teeth. I take some water into my mouth and swish and swizzle around to get rid of that goop, using my tongue to help. Rinse and repeat. Smile at your beautiful self.
  12. Now, do NOT use your strips for another few days (at least a week, if you have time to wait). Your teeth might be sensitive after whitening (mine sometimes are). This gives them a rest from all that chemical madness that makes them look so perfect.

 

These are the steps I follow to ensure I get every penny out of those magical strips.

Note: I do not recommend leaving the strips on for longer than an hour (though I have done so by distraction in the past). I had a friend in high school who’s mother would sleep in her Crest Whitestrips. I am not so sure this is safe. In fact, I am not so sure Crest Whitestrips are safe. I might end up toothless some day from over-whitening in my younger years.

But man did my teeth see some glory days. It will probably be worth it. Ask again when I am lisping through my missing-teeth gaps.

 

 

What strategies do you use for whitening your teeth? I’ve heard of the baking soda thing but never tried it. Do you use a different brand or method? Perhaps a safer one? Please share your tried-and-trues in the comments below!

 

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